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Dresden officials: Jewel thieves stole less than feared

BERLIN – The thieves who carried out a nighttime robbery of a German museum’s unique collection of 18th century jewels got away with less than initially feared, officials in the eastern city of Dresden said Tuesday.

The director of Dresden’s Green Vault, Dirk Syndram, said the thieves who broke into the museum early Monday seemed to have only snatched what they could reach through holes punched with an ax into three compartments of a display cabinet before making a hasty exit.

Among the items taken were a large diamond brooch, a diamond epaulette, and other treasures, Syndram said.

He didn’t give a complete list of what was gone and said only that the losses were culturally “priceless.”

Of some 100 dazzling pieces, many were left behind, including diamond-encrusted shoe buckles and buttons, the queen’s pearl necklaces, and a diamond-studded sword.

“You don’t see me relieved, but still far less frustrated than I felt yesterday when police said the glass case was empty,” Syndram told reporters. “It’s not empty.”

The Green Vault is one of the world’s oldest museums. It was established in 1723 and contains the treasury of Augustus the Strong of Saxony, comprising around 4,000 objects of gold, precious stones and other materials.

The governor of Saxony described the robbery as a blow to the German state’s cultural heritage.

The museum has resisted suggestions it had taken the security of the priceless artefacts lightly but said measures would be reviewed.

“At the moment our main goal should be to put all energy into getting back the stolen works,” said Dresden’s State Art Collections director, Marion Ackermann.

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Virtual tour of burgled room: https://gruenes-gewoelbe.skd.museum/en/exhibitions/historisches-gruenes-gewoelbe/

Recent major art and jewelry robberies in Europe: https://apnews.com/f99e5c65dd1a48d9afd0b98a89be8b8b